Whenever I think about most important aspect of wellness,being a Psychiatrist I always give mental wellness as the topmost priority.Every worldly pain including health issues, monitory issues, social issues are perceived at the minds level only. So keeping mind calm, balanced and stressfree is really important. There are lots of issues to write and discuss when we talk about the ways to achieve mental balance. Out of all issues lets walk through the issue of anger management in this article.

Let us understand why we get angry? We get angry due to only 3 reasons:

1. Desire remains unfulfilled    2.  Expectations remain unfulfilled 3. Not allowed to communicate what we wanted to.

There is not 4th reason to get angry.

Is anger a completely bad emotion?Not really. 

It’s natural to get angry to some extent. Even history has so many examples where the incidents which caused lot of insult, lot of anger had actually resulted in creating historical creations and victories by the people who sustained those insults, e.g. Saint Tulasidas and Economics Guru Chanakya. But all this had happened when the energy of anger was channelized and transformed into inspiration. Limited anger helps us to fight for our rights and safeguarding our self-esteem. 

We are worried about the typical and commonest destructive expression of anger. It requires few seconds to get angry but it takes lots of time to become normal in terms of physical and mental parameters. Bloodpressure increases, heart beats increase, sweating happens and sometimes very serious repercussions may also result in few people. From minds point of view the events which cause anger can come with lots of emotions like irritability,insults, sadness, low self-esteem and all these emotions get even stronger and darker with the mental revision of these incidences. Our working ability gets diminished and we lose so much of our precious time in the whole process. Also we end up speaking what we hardly mean.

So what we could do to control the anger? These small steps help in reducing our anger and outward expression of same too.

1.      One must consume a glassful of cold water whenever he or she is angry, it instantaneously reduces anger.

2.      Before shouting at people, one must ask three questions to himself:1)     What I am going to speak, is it “good”?2)     Is it going to serve any “positive purpose”?3)     Is it essential to talk “right now”?If the answer is no to any of the above questions, then please wait for sometime before speaking.

3.      Please write an email to the person with whom you are angry. Don’t send it immediately. Once you have finished writing, go for a walk or do some activity for a while for distraction. Re-read the email after an hour and edit if you feel and send it if you feel so.We avoid the emotional drama which happens in one to one fight and writing email also channelizes our negative energy and we feel better.

4.      If verbal and one to one argument is essential then express your point in even and calm tone. Kindly give respect to opposite person. Don’t use superlatives. Don’t use words like –always, worst. Avoid abusive language. Talk about that incident and don’t give past references. 

5.      Ancient method of counting 100 before uttering  the word is also effective.

6.      It is mentioned in studies that instead of speaking out if we divert our attention to bodily changes happening when we get angry, we calm down easily.

7.      ‘Humor’ does the magic. When you are angry remember a joke. It’s a strong antidote to anger.

8.      If we know ‘factors under my control’ and‘factors beyond my control’ then the calculation becomes easy. Behavior of others including our closed ones also is not in our control. The only things which are completely in our control are our reactions and expressions of emotions. One must be aware of these things all the time.

9.      A good lifestyle – good sleep, good food anddaily exercise are pivotal for balanced body and balanced mind too.In diet, mainly milk has lot of tryptophan which is responsible for reducing impulsivity, so milk and milk products should be included in ample amount.With exercise “endorphins- natural moodlifters” are secreted in brain which reduce the stress in turn.

10.  Thoughts stopping methods like imagining a stick hitting the head whenever you get negative thoughts, helps in reducing unwanted thoughts.

11.  Self-hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation exercises, breathing exercises and yoga help us in controlling negative emotions and anger too.

12.  Very important is “praying” every day. Prayer cleanses negative emotions, helps us in forgiving others and yourself too.

13.  Consulting a mental health care provider, there are effective medicines for anger management in Psychiatry, which can address the issue effectively.Aristotle has said that anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy and so better avoid the same. Acknowledging that you are being angry is a battle half won.

Dr. Pallavi A. JoshiConsultantPsychiatrist, Bangalore.